July 6, 2020 5:09:41 pm
The CPM Monday opposed the BJP government’s plan to amend the Right of Persons with Disabilities (RPwD) Act, 2016, to de-criminalise “minor offences for improving business sentiment and unclogging court processes’’ saying the proposed amendments were regressive which militate against the basic principles of equality, justice and non-discrimination.
Arguing that one of the progressive features of the RPwD Act has been the penal clauses built into this legislation for non-compliance and violation, the CPM said the ridiculous plea taken by the government that such provisions “act as deterrents and this is perceived as one of the major reasons impacting investments from both domestic and foreign investors”, was unacceptable.
“Ease of doing business cannot be at the cost of basic human rights, won after long-drawn struggles. The purpose of these provisions in the RPwD Act was to ensure accountability and compliance of a law passed by parliament for one of the most marginalised sections of our society, who face multiple layers of discrimination,” it said.
The proposed amendments, the Left party said, are “in tandem with the Modi government’s efforts to further open up the economy to unbridled loot by foreign and domestic capital, utilising the pandemic situation (and) the attempts to negate these gains are in conjecture with the attacks on democratic rights, curbing dissent, amending labour laws etc.”
Condemning the government’s attempts to dilute the provisions of the Act, the CPM said it will stand in solidarity with and support disability rights organisations and activists in their fight to stop the government from going ahead with this regressive set of amendments.
In its notification issued on Wednesday, the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, stated that decriminalisation of minor offences will alleviate the risk of imprisonment for actions which do not necessarily have “malafide intent’’. It also stated that the risk of jail is a hurdle in attracting investments – from both domestic and foreign investors – which has become more pertinent after the Covid-19 pandemic in order to revive the economy.
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